Emergency crews were on standby on Saturday evening after a Cayman Airways flight to the Brac was turned around because of a problem with one of the aircraft’s flight control systems.
Flight KX105 experienced issues around 10 minutes after take-off at 6.40 p.m, the airline said in a statement on Monday. The captain elected to return immediately to Grand Cayman as a “cautionary measure,” the statement added.
“The crew remained in complete control of the aircraft at all times as the other flight control systems remained fully operative.”
The aircraft made a safe landing at the Owen Roberts International Airport and the passengers were transferred to another plane, completing their journey to Cayman Brac shortly before 10 p.m.
Trilby Lingard, who was on board the plane, said passengers had heard an audible “pop” around 10 minutes into the flight.
“The pilot came on and said there was a mechanical problem and we were going back to Grand Cayman. Everyone was just quiet after that till we landed. It was horrifying,” she said.
Cayman Airways President and CEO Fabian Whorms praised the pilot, Captain Timothy Grizzel, for his handling of the incident.
He said, “As always, we at Cayman Airways place the safety of our operations and our passengers as our highest priority and we are thankful for the patience and understanding of our passengers.
“We know that the presence of emergency services for the landing has caused concern for our passengers and the community at large, but we would like to give an assurance that the emergency services requested to be on standby by the captain was purely to ensure the safest environment possible for landing.”
Caren Thompson Palacio, of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, said there had been a standby of emergency crews at the airport as a “precautionary measure.” She said emergency services “stood down” when the plane landed without incident at around 7 p.m.